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Financier William Browder charged with organizing crime syndicate

The authorities are going to put him on an international wanted list and they are going to confiscate his assets

MOSCOW, December 21. /TASS/. British financier and Hermitage Capital Management founder William Browder has been charged in absentia with organizing a crime syndicate, a source in Moscow’s Tverskoy District Court informed TASS, adding that the motion for his arrest in absentia will be considered on December 21.

"The court received a motion on imposing remand in custody on Browder in absentia. It will be considered at 11:00 Moscow time," the court’s spokesperson said.

Browder is charged under Part 1 of Section 210 of Russia's Criminal Code ("Organizing a crime syndicate"). On November 19, the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office said criminal proceedings had been initiated against him over organizing a crime syndicate. It also said Browder would be put on the international wanted list, while his assets would be seized with their subsequent confiscation.

Browder was convicted in absentia in Russia twice. On July 11, 2013, Moscow’s Tverskoy District Court found him guilty of large-scale tax evasion worth 522 mln rubles ($9 million at the current exchange rate) and sentenced him to nine years in jail. That verdict also barred him from doing business for two years.

In July 2014, Russia put Browder on the international wanted list. The Russian Prosecutor General’s Office has repeatedly asked Interpol to issue an arrest warrant against him.

On December 29, 2017, Moscow’s Tverskoy District Court sentenced Browder to nine years behind bars in absentia, having found him guilty of tax evasion to the tune of more than 3 bln rubles ($45.5 mln) and bankruptcy fraud. His business partner Ivan Cherkasov was sentenced to a similar prison term. The court also upheld a lawsuit against Browder and Cherkasov worth 4.2 bln rubles ($64 mln) and barred them from doing business in Russia for three years.